My concerns for Dreams

Here are my main worries.

  1. Are there enough creatives out there who will be interested in Dreams?
  2. How long will it take for people to get any level of competency on the platform to make something worth playing?
  3. Will there be too many creatives and not enough players?
  4. Does it have staying-power? Will people stick with it for years or will the initial interest drop suddenly when people realise that making games is not as easy as they supposed?


  1. Are there enough creatives out there who will be interested in Dreams?
    There are definitely a lot of creative people on the internet. There are also a lot of student developers, professional artists and musicians who could make use of the Dreams toolset, but will they? Is game-making too niche to sustain a AAA title? Little Big Planet had an amazing platforming campaign that was worth the cost of the game without any of the community levels. Many people were happy to buy the game for that alone, so any of the community levels were a bonus. To be honest, I never really enjoyed the community levels anywhere near as much as the campaign, and my attempts at gamemaking, though fun, always ended in frustration for me as I struggled to realise my vision. The campaign in Dreams is not going to be very long. The big draw is more towards personal creativity than playing a challenging campaign. And from what I have seen there is a big learning curve awaiting anyone who wants to make anything as you have to make all the logic and assets yourself (unless you luckily stumble across the exact thing you need made by someone else). More so than Project Spark, which had ready made assets and brains that you could just drop into a randomly created landscape, and yet that still had people moaning about how difficult it was to make anything good. I am not sure at this stage if Media Molecule are marketing this game with any view on how to get creative people, that would not normally consider game development, fired up to use it.
  2. How long will it take for people to get any level of competency on the platform to make something worth playing?
    I think we have got to be prepared to see a lot of good models and music early on, but very few actual games. Although seeing a nice model can be fun, it can also get a bit boring (not everyone likes to spend time in museums and galleries) when there is nothing you can interact with. Making levels is going to take time to make even with competency with the tools. Factor in the learning period to get used to the toolset and I think we won’t see really great things for a year. Will people hang around and wait for that? Or will people dismiss the game after 6 months because there is nothing on it worth playing. (That is pretty much the case with Project Spark, which lost much of its user base within the first 6 months, even though some of the creators had learned their craft and were beginning to produce quality levels. Unfortunately the vast majority of levels were just terrible, and greatly outnumbered anything of value.)
  3. Will there be too many creators and not enough players?
    Without players and viewers and listeners (likes and shares and recognition) creators will leave the platform. Players are just as important as the creators, and in fact we need more of them to make this work. If the levels are not played by enough people, the creators will find a different platform with more feedback. When Project Spark closed its community sharing platform the amount of active players plummeted to practically nothing. People do not like to create art they cannot share, or are sharing into an echoing void of very little response. Apathy is actually worse than a lot of dislikes in my opinion. At least you know people saw it. If some people do not come to Dreams just to play there will be a big problem (adversely you cannot have too many players and nothing to play either).
  4. Does it have staying-power?
    LBP celebrated 10 years this month. Although not on the current PS4 platform (LBP3 was made by Sumo Digital) Media Molecule’s game still has a decent following and people are still making things in it. So, MM does have a history of sticking with a title and allowing it to flourish with a dedicated community. However, LBP was successful and has allowed Media Molecule to cope with the failure of their follow up Tearaway. If Dreams fails to get traction, it is unclear whether Media Molecule would be able to sustain another failed venture. They are so dedicated to Dreams, and believe in it so much, I am not sure they are seeing what other people are – and that is that creative tool programs have limited appeal (regardless of how great they are). Most people just do not have the time or the inclination to make their own …well, anything. There are craft-loving people about, but they are in the minority to those who would rather buy it, microwave it, or let someone else do it for them. MM staff are creative people, and they surround themselves with like-minded people, so they get the impression everyone is like that. They are not. The vast majority of the gaming public want to play, not create. And if they do create, they are not all that good at it. Project Spark failed to get the numbers and they had Xbox and PC players at their disposal – Dreams only has PS4. The advantage they have though is that PS4 players know and love Little Big Planet and may see Dreams as the development of that, so a ready made fan base who already have staying power.





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